Charles Mann,Penn State University's rare book librarian...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 20, 1998

Charles Mann,Penn State University's rare book librarian for four decades, died Friday in Baltimore, where he lived part time with his wife, a medical archivist at the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Mann, of State College, Pa., was 68.

Mr. Mann, who also was a professor of English and comparative literature, is remembered for his extensive knowledge of literature and eclectic interests from photography to history.

"He had a tremendous variety of interests, and it wasn't superficial," said Robert Fitzgerald, a retired Penn State English professor. "It's not easy to find somebody who understands something from 2,000 years ago but also understands the publishing history of Hemingway."

An expert on the publishing history of authors Ernest Hemingway and Pennsylvanian John O'Hara, Mr. Mann is credited with bringing O'Hara's acclaimed manuscript collection to Penn State.

He co-authored the first inventory of the Hemingway Papers with the late Philip Young. He also had an in-depth knowledge of the history of books and bookmaking, bibliography, architecture, the history of photography and the literature of the former British Commonwealth.

"Books were not just a source of literature but were a real art form to him," said relative Jim Rowley of Bethesda. "He had an incredible interest in literature but wasn't at all pretentious about books. He was always interested in what books you were reading."

Mr. Mann earned an undergraduate degree in history and a master's in English from Penn State, then earned a master's in library science from Rutgers University.

He began as a library assistant at Penn State in 1954, was appointed chief of rare books and special collections in 1957 and was named to the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair for Special Collections in the University Libraries in 1994. He became an assistant English professor in 1965, and was named a full professor in 1975.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy McCall of Baltimore; a sister, Charlene Kuttriff of Hollidaysburg, Pa.; a daughter, Molly Mann Ziegler of State College; and a granddaughter.

Geraldine Owen Delaney,91, a nutritionist who founded a highly regarded New Jersey treatment center for people recovering from alcohol and drug addictions, as she had, died July 9 at Newton Memorial Hospital in Newton, N.J. In 1957, she founded the Little Hill Foundation, which operates a private adult residential center in Blairstown, N.J., called Little Hill-Alina Lodge.

William I. Bertsche,79, who had such a rapid-fire way with recondite words that he spent his life rattling them off in more than a dozen languages, died of cancer July 11. A resident of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., he was one of the nation's leading document translators for more than half a century.

George P. Abel,78, a builder, philanthropist and former Nebraska football star, died Thursday in Lincoln, Neb. An all-Big Six offensive guard at the University of Nebraska who also played defensive halfback, he is the only Nebraskan to play in the Rose Bowl, the Shrine East-West game and the College All-Star game.

Greta Alexander,66, whose uncanny knack for helping police find missing people and bodies brought her national attention as a psychic, died Friday in Delavan, Ill. Ms. Alexander claimed that a lightning strike when she was pregnant with her youngest child gave her psychic powers.

Pub Date: 7/20/98

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